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Menemsha or Bust!

Friday June 26 - Sunday June 28, 2009.

This weekend, as planned, we set off for Menemsha - probably our favorite destination... but we didn't get there - not immediately anyway. This weekend also marked the first sailing adventure for our cat Bordeaux!

The wind was out of the South West - the direction in which the target lies - and the current was coming up Buzzards Bay - while we were trying to go down it! We decided to give it a go anyway.

Unfortunately, the weather was pretty marginal, and soon after setting out on Friday morning, we were in pretty thick fog, reefed main and Genoa with 20kts of wind and choppy seas. For a while, I struggled to get the radar going - and then I thought I had - but then I realized I didn't when a fishing boat less than a ΒΌ mile away failed to show on the screen. By this time we were half way across Buzzards Bay on our first major tack of the day, but with only about 50yds of visibility, we decided to bear off and head for a safe haven so that I could attend to the radar.

We landed in Quissett harbor. Our first visit there - what nice little spot. We found an empty mooring and grabbed it to eat some lunch and fix the radar.

Fortunately, the stop was short as a setting had been wrongly entered in the radar - so that was fixed, and the Tuna sandwich went down a treat. Off we go again - into the murky waters that are Buzzards Bay!

Our next tack took us back across Buzzards bay, and while recognizing that we actually detoured a little off the close hauled track in order to get to Quissett, when we arrived back on the north side of the bay, we were only a few miles west of the entrance to Mattapoisett - little progress to show for a couple hours of sailing. Still, we tacked and headed south again, close hauled, trying to point Toodle-oo! as close to the wind - and towards Cutty Hunk as we could.

It quickly became apparent that with both the wind and the current against us, while we were making some headway, it was going to be a painful trip - so let's leave this one for better timing - so at least one of the factors can go in our favor! We altered course to make it through Woods Hole just as the tide was slack and before it turned into a torrent in the wrong direction. Through Woods Hole, the wind died and we ended up motoring to Lake Tashmoo - another favorite spot.

In Tashmoo Laurie did her magic and produced some wonderful pasta and sausage for dinner - and a couple of bottles of red really helped us on our way!

The only downer was that the Catalina anchored next to us insisted on running a generator on deck forever. We finally managed to bring their attention to it by flashing a laser pointer in their eyes!!!

Saturday morning looked pretty gloomy and we weighed anchor at 6:15 - destination Menemsha. We quietly stole out of Tashmoo with the prospect of little wind and little visibility but with a 2kt current in our favor. Fortunately, the weather gods were wrong and we had a splendid sail - close hauled in 15kts to the north side of Vineyard Sound, until we were close to Quicks Hole, before tacking towards Menemsha. A second short tack brought us into Menemsha by about 9:30 with one of the mooring balls in the inner harbor free for the evening we were going to be all set! The sail had been wonderful, with good visibility, nice temperature and the boat working beautifully.

In Menemsha, the day looked like it would be misty, but we broke out the folding tandem anyway and ended up riding to Oak Bluffs - some 18 miles away - in beautiful weather, and enjoyed lunch at our favorite brew pub there. The ride home was rather more painful - a definite lack of cycling miles (as well as the couple of pints) the cause!

Back on the boat after picking up some fingerling potatoes, a loaf of bread and fresh Cod at Larsen's and we were set. Laurie did it again with a wonderful dinner - and another couple of reds!

Sunday dawned rather murky. We were off by 7:10 to take advantage of the westerly flowing currents in Vineyard Sound and then the north easterly currents in Buzzards Bay. With the wind out of the north, Quick's Hole was not an option - our only hope was to reach towards Cutty Hunk and then pass (carefully) through the Sow and Pigs reef at the west end of the island. The wind was great - 15 kts again and the boat was flying at 6kts with SOG registering 8! After picking our way through the reef, we sailed close hauled to the north side of Buzzards Bay and then a single tack saw us all the way up to Buoy 10, just north of Woods Hole. From there we struck north and arrived back home in Mattapoisett after a really enjoyable - though cold - 5 hour sail.

What a great weekend of sailing we had... more than can be said for our cat Bordeaux! On the first day with heavy wind and seas, she threw up several times. Even when in the quietest harbors she refused to come out on deck - obviously not impressed with that water stuff. She was delighted to return home - and I dare say, this weekend will mark the last time she goes on the boat...

Charles makes progress

Charles has now covered about 850km and is getting out to an even wider part of the St Lawrence - currently at Mont Albert, QC

Specifically here:,-66.4874&ll=49.1326,-66.4874&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1


Revised Sailing Schedule...

6/19: Fix charging system!
6/20-21: Cutty Hunk
6/26-28: Menemsha
7/2-6: Bristol
7/11-12: Abby's weekend
7/18-8/2: MAINE CRUISE
8/7-10: Newport - Pablo's Wedding!
8/15-16: Laurie's Weekend (Bill in India)
8/21-23: Mathew's Weekend - Menemsha
8/29-30: The Vineyard
9/4-7: Nantucket Labor Day Weekend
9/12-20: Vancouver
9/25-27: Boston
10/3-4: Mystery Cruise
10/9-12: Columbus Day Weekend Trip
10/17-18: Winterize
10/20: Haul

New Nav Station

Have been meaning to take a photograph of the new nav Station... finally did... It really enhances access to the quarterberth.

06/21/2009 | Steve
Looks like a great improvement
07/09/2009 | Jay
Looks great! I love the seat and sotrage under
5S in the boat

We have a program at work - lean manufacturing - one step of which is 5S. I can't remember what it means - but putting things in their place is a part of it - and I adopted said practice on Toodle-oo! It's great - you know where everything is - but more importantly, you know what isn't.

Can you tell which tool is now at the bottom of Mattapoisset harbor!!

Vineyard Bound
06/14/2009, Lake Tashmoo

In spite of an electrical problem - to do with the charging circuits - we headed off to the Vineyard for the weekend - to meet Cynthia and her new Beau, Arthur.

What a fantastic sail across - just enough wind but flat calm seas meant we were able to make great progress and enjoy the great weather. We headed through Woods hole and went direct to Tashmoo, right over the shallow shoal - it was like surfing!

The entrance to Tashmoo is tight, but very doable - recording 6' at the lowest - and we only need 5... It was very peaceful and the water was flat. We anchored, then sat in the cockpit with a bottle of wine, watching nesting Ospreys tend to their young.

Laurie's sister Cynthia and her new beau Art were in good form - and we enjoyed a nice meal with them at the Brew Pub in Oak Bluffs.

Our return was interesting. Because there was adverse current through Woods Hole for most of the day, we decided to take advantage of the positive flowing westward current in Vineyard Sound, sneak through Robinson Hole into Buzzards Bay and take advantage of the positive current flowing east up it!

The wind was pretty light in the morning - so I put up the spinnaker for the ride down the sound. As soon as I did, the wind changed direction and piped up! So we bagged it. We motored through Robinson's Hole - quite a narrow pass, but very manageable and came out the other side and it started to rain... full wet gear was called for.

we motored for maybe half an hour - and then the wind returned and we sailed close hauled all the way to Mattapoisett - requiring just one minor tack at the end to avoid shallow water on the entrance. 4 1/2 hours to cover about 22 n.miles...

Even managed to sail up to the mooring successfully - no engine. A first for me...

We then enjoyed some wonderful weather as we tidied the boat for an hour or so.

What a relaxing weekend...

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Who: Bill and Laurie Balme
Port: Newport, RI
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